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FAST FACTS: Who are the new 6 Sandiganbayan justices?

Jodesz Gavilan
FAST FACTS: Who are the new 6 Sandiganbayan justices?
Here's a quick profile of the new members of the anti-graft court

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III appointed on Monday, January 25, 6 new Sandiganbayan associate justices.

The newly-appointed anti-graft court justices will fill the positions created under Republic Act 10660, titled “An Act Strengthening the Functional and Structural Organization of the Sandiganbayan.”

Signed by Aquino in April 2015, the law added two additional Sandiganbayan divisions with each having 3 members. From 5 divisions, the anti-graft court now has 7 divisions, or 21 total sitting justices.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) submitted the shortlist for the vacant positions in October 2015. A total of 37 names were nominated by the JBC.

Here’s a quick profile of the 6 new Sandiganbayan associate justices:


KARL B. MIRANDA

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Karl Miranda takes his oath before Justice Francis Jardeleza. All photos by Francisco S. Gutierrez/SC PIO

Assistant Solicitor General (Sedfrey A. Ordonez Division)
Shortlisted for 20th Associate Justice post with 6 votes from the JBC
Law degree from the University of the Philippines

  • Holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University
  • Has been working in the OSG since 1986 and was appointed Assistant Solicitor General in 1999
  • Handled important cases for the government, including the Sarah Balabagan case in the United Arab Emirates and the Flor Contemplacion case in Singapore
  • Aided the investigations done after the death of Contemplacion which led to the passage of the landmark Migrant Workers Act in 1995

GERALDINE FAITH A. ECONG

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg takes her oath before Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Program Management Office Director of the Supreme Court
Shortlisted for 21st Associate Justice post with 5 votes from the JBC
Law degree from the University of San Carlos

  • Named in 2010 as director of the Program Management Office of the Supreme Court which was created to manage the judicial reform program implementation or the Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR)
  • Appointed regional court administration office head in Cebu but this was later revoked after the office’s reopening was questioned by other justices in 2012
  • Appointed presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 9 in Cebu in 2004 at age 35; there she handled controversial cases such as the parricide case against Ruben Ecleo Jr and claims against the Mactan Cebu International Airport
  • Presided over Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MCCT) after being appointed in 2002
  • Underwent a drug test in 2007 after an anonymous letter sender accused her of using prohibited drugs
  • Charged with an administrative case in relation to a marriage scam in Cebu but the case was later dismissed in 2013 due to lack of merit
  • Was shortlisted by the JBC for the position vacated by Associate Justice Abarintos of the Court of Appeals in Cebu in 2013
  • Was shortlisted by the JBC to succeed Pelagio Apostol as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas in 2014

MICHAEL FREDERICK L. MUSNGI

Sandiganbayan Associate Michael Frederick Musngi takes his oath before Justice Francis Jardeleza.

Undersecretary, Office of Special Concerns under Office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr
Shortlisted for 21st Associate Justice post with 4 votes from the JBC
Law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University

  • Appointed to the JBC by President Benigno Aquino III in 2012 to replace former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and “for the sole purpose of participating in the deliberations” for a new Chief Justice
  • Serves as Ex Officio Member in the Board of Directors of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Philippine National Railways (PNR), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the Urban Triangle Development Commission (TRIDEV)
  • Was a practicing lawyer specializing in corporate, land, and environmental law first at the Moncupa, Torio & Malaya Law Offices from 1991 until 1995, at the Moncupa and Partners law firm from 2003 to 2009; was corporate legal counsel from 2009 to 2010
  • Worked in various government agencies including the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) from 2002 to 2003, Department of Agriculture from 2001 to 2002, and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) from 1999 to 2001
  • Member of the Aquila Legis fraternity and was among the 19 cleared in the homicide case involving the death of neophyte Jose Leonardo “Lenny” Villa in 1991

MA. THERESA V. MENDOZA-ARCEGA

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Mendoza-Arcega takes her oath before Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Executive Judge, Regional Trial Court in Malolos City, Bulacan
Shortlisted for 17th Associate Justice post with 6 votes from the JBC
Law degree from San Beda College

  • Serves as vice president in the RTC division in the Philippine Women Judges Association (PWJA)
  • Recognized by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bulacan chapter for her contribution to the field in 2012
  • Released the search warrant that led to the arrest of the known leader of “Roda Group” involved in gun-for-hire operations and drug trafficking in Bulacan in 2013

ZALDY V. TRESPESES

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Zaldy V. Trespeses takes his out before Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Judicial Staff Head at the Office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Shortlisted for the 18th Associate Justice post with 5 votes from the JBC
Law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University

  • Obtained a Masters in Global Development and Social Justice from St. John’s University in Rome in 2008
  • Was a partner at the Laogan & Trespeses Law Offices from 2008 to 2010
  • Worked under Sereno from 2010 to 2012 while she was still an Associate Justice
  • Acts as the chief protocol officer of Sereno and a Court Attorney VI, according to his online profile
  • Wrote about adopted children for his law school thesis in 1997 titled “Preterition of the adopted child: is the claim of preterition conferred by law or by blood?

REYNALDO P. CRUZ

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Reynaldo P. Cruz takes his oath before Justice Francis Jardeleza.

Undersecretary, Office of the Executive Secretary-Strategic Initiatives Management Office
Shortlisted for the 19th Associate Justice post with 5 votes from the JBC
Law degree from the University of the Philippines

  • Conferred the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Philippine Air Force Reserve Command in 2015.  

– Rappler.com

Sources: Various news reports, curriculum vitaes, and online profiles
All photos by Francisco S. Gutierrez/SC Public Information Office

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.